10 Reasons to Visit Amsterdam

1. Cruising the Canals

Amsterdam’s more than one hundred kilometers (more than 62 miles) of canals are the best way to get around the city. The canal system dates back to the 17th century when the Dutch capital was the richest city and one of the busiest ports in the world. Today these waterways are used for everything from daily commutes to sightseeing.

2. Anne Frank House

It was on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam that Anne Frank and 7 others hid for over 2 years during World War II. Her diary, translated into 60 languages, is testimony to the human capacity for optimism in the face of evil. The main house is now a museum, but the Secret Annex has been preserved, allowing visitors to more fully comprehend the harsh reality of a life in hiding.

3. Red Light District

The Red Light district in the inner city evokes Amsterdam’s historic reputation for vice. But it is far from just salacious. For the more academically inclined, the oldest sex museum in the world, the Venustempel, explores the history and culture of sex, while Red Light Secrets (pictured) is the world’s first museum of prostitution.

4. Heineken Experience

Heineken Experience is a museum about the Heineken beer brand and the brewery, located in the former Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. The museum provides a glimpse into the history of the beer brewer and of the brewing process over the years. Visitors to the museum are given an interactive multimedia tour. They also get two drinks in the museum cafes.

5. Johan Cruijff ArenA Stadium Tour

The Johan Cruyff Arena is home to Ajax, one of the most successful clubs in football history. On this tour, you’ll get a rare behind-the-scenes look and visit areas, including the changing room, usually reserved for players only.

6. Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is a museum dedicated to the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, located on Paulus Potterstraat and Museumplein in Amsterdam, in the South district. The collection contains over two hundred paintings, five hundred drawings and seven hundred letters by Vincent van Gogh, as well as his collection of Japanese prints, and the library contains more than 23,000 titles

7. ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event)

The Amsterdam Dance Festival is said to be the largest club festival in the world; it attracts nearly 400,000 fans annually. This festival/partial conference is held annually in mid-October and is also known as Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). The five-day festival features more than 2000 artists, 115 locations and 450 events, including pop-up raves in the red light district and rooftop parties with a view over Amsterdam’s canals. Brands display their latest electronic dance gear while performers bring dance-related art exhibits to life.

8. The Rijksmuseum

The sheer amount of art in Amsterdam is mind-boggling. The Rijksmuseum on Museum Square houses one of the world’s finest collections of works by the Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, and Steen. It is here that Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ can be seen, having been returned in 2013 after a decade of renovations to the museum.

9. Coffee shops

Amsterdam’s varied cultural treasures are not equally appreciated by everybody. The city is also (in)famous for its policy on marijuana. Smoking is both the norm and a draw for tourists, many of whom travel to the city explicitly to indulge. Easy access to the drug in coffee shops has contributed to the capital’s tolerant reputation as well as the heated debate with regard to drug tourism.

10. Amsterdam architecture

The gables decorating many houses are the quintessence of traditional Amsterdam. The various types of gables provide insight into the history of each of the buildings. Many fine examples can be seen along the banks of the city’s canals.

About Amsterdam

If a city could be a museum, Amsterdam would win global awards. With its tapestry of canals, gabled buildings and free-spirit, this mandated capital of the Netherlands has always attracted travelers and tourists. The Rijksmuseum is classed as one of the finest art museums on this planet, Van Gogh and Rembrandt, as well as thousands of others.

The Von Gogh Museum traces the life and works of this tortured painter, although some contemporary artworks are also on display. Museum het Rembrandthuis, housed in this Master’s former home, gives you an intimate glimpse into Rembrandt’s life. Any visit to Amsterdam would be incomplete without booking a tour at the Anne Frank House. The story of this tragic Jewish teen diary-keeper who hid with her family in a secret annexe for years, only to be murdered in the hellish camps, became a symbol of the Holocaust, and the tour is a powerful experience. Other Amsterdam must-sees include the former-town-hall-turned-Royal-Palace and the cultural complex of De Hallen. Experience Amsterdam through its web of canals. Hop on and off the canal boat-busses. Wander through ancient cobbled streets, pop into cozy “bruin” cafes, named for their brown wood paneling.

Amsterdam Airport to City Center

A direct railway line connects Schiphol International Airport with Amsterdam Central Station, and is the fastest and most convenient form of transport to the city centre. The ride takes 15 minutes and the trains depart day and night every day. From 6am to 1am train departs every 15 minutes. From 1am to 6am the train departs once per hour on the 00 minute.

  • Train: 15 minutes, from $5
  • Bus: 30 minutes, from $7
  • Taxi: 20 minutes, from $50
  • Hotel Shuttle: 30 minutes, from $20 (for single rider)

Public Transport in Amsterdam

Getting around Amsterdam is easy when you know how. You can hop on a tram, bus, or metro train, all operated by the city’s primary travel operator, Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB). Or you can explore the city like the locals: on a bicycle.

Shopping in Amsterdam

Decadent malls, charming shops and bustling markets are found throughout the capital city of the Netherlands, offering everything. Places where you can go shopping but not limited to are:

1. Bijenkorf

De Bijenkorf, a chain of high-end department stores, is definitely a Dutch favorite. The store in Amsterdam, which opened in 1870, was the first of De Bijenkorf’s stores. The majestic building towers over Dam Square, ready to welcome shoppers. The name literally translates to the “beehive,” which is fitting because the store is always buzzing. Shoppers can browse a wide range of brands from Gucci and Bjorn Borg to Diesel and Ralph Lauren. Ladies, if you’re looking for a new pair of skinny jeans or dyed denims, drop by the Premium Denim Department. You can also shop for shoes, household items, accessories and beauty products. De Bijenkorf is a one-stop shop.

2. P.C. Hooftstraat

P.C. Hooftstraat is arguably the most luxurious shopping street in Amsterdam. You can find it in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, between Vondelpark and Musuemplein. This puts you within walking distance of the city’s largest parks and 3 notable museums.

3. Kalverstraat

Kalverstraat appeals to shoppers in Amsterdam with its range of retail options. The 2.5-km-long street, which runs from Dam Square to Muntplein, is lined with store chains of prominent high-street brands

4. Bloemenmarkt

Bloemenmarkt is a prominent floating flower market in Amsterdam’s city centre. You can find a row of flower stalls on houseboats along the Singel canal, between Koningsplein and Muntplein. Tulips may be the Netherlands’ most popular exports, but you can also find orchids, narcissus, geraniums, and roses for sale at this market.

5. Boven ‘t IJ

Boven ‘t Y is a shopping center in the Amsterdam-Noord district of Amsterdam, which is located on Buikslotermeerplein. The shopping center has approximately 160 stores. The name is derived from the common name in Amsterdam for habitation on the north side of the IJ.

6. Albert Cuypmarkt

The Albert Cuypmarkt is one of the largest daytime markets in Europe. It’s located in De Pijp, a multicultural neighbourhood just south of Amsterdam city centre. The market hosts over 250 stalls selling just about anything, from fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables to accessories, clothes, and textiles.

7. Shopping center Stadshart Amstelveen

The central shopping center in Amstelveen has been called the Stadshart since 1998. The shopping center is built around the Binnenhof shopping center and the former Plein 1960, now Stadsplein. About 230 shops together form a complete range of shops for the local population

8. Leidsestraat

Leidsestraat is one of the busiest shopping streets in Amsterdam-Centrum. It spans around 500 meters between the Prinsengracht and Herengracht canals. Along its length, you can find exclusive brands like Filippa K, Karen Millen, Abercrombie & Fitch, Paul Warmer and Camper. High-street options like Onitsuka Tiger, COS, and Brandy Melville are located close to Herengracht.

9. Spiegelkwartier

Spiegelkwartier is home to over 80 antique dealers and independent art galleries. This neighbourhood is within the Amsterdam Canal Ring, just 500 meters northeast of the iconic Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

10. Utrechtsestraat

Utrechtsestraat is a vibrant street along the Keizersgracht canal, on the Amsterdam Canal Ring’s eastern edge. You’ll find a good range of concept stores specializing in home décor, gadgets, clothing, and accessories. Along the street are several cafés, restaurants and bars – all great for a quick break in between shopping sprees.

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